Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Role of Inflammation on Weight Gain

What is inflammation? 

All inflammation is not bad. Inflammation is part of the normal immune response and has a role to play in healing. Consider this: when you cut yourself the area becomes raised and red. This is localised inflammation taking place as immune cells are released into the area to fix the damage. It is short lived and localised. This is known as acute inflammation and is nothing to worry about. 

Inflammation becomes an issue when it is systemic and long term, when the body is unable to turn it off. It becomes harmful to the body and has been shown to play a role in many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, fatigue and pain, depression, anxiety. It also plays a role in weight gain. 

As we gain weight we do not grow more fat cells. Rather the number of fat cells we have remains the same from birth but as we gain weight the fat cells grow and become "leaky" as they grow fuller. This leaking fluid causes immune cells to be drawn to the area to clean up the damage. This immune cells create inflammatory chemicals which in turn leads to increased inflammation. 

In the picture below we see the adipocytes (fat cells, the large yellow cells) which are hypoxic and filled with excess nutrients, causing overflow out of the cell. This causes the immune cells (macrophages) to come in to clean up the damage. 

A Vicious Circle

A highly refined processed, sugary diet also leads to increased inflammation. This is because these foods lead to increased pathogenic gut bacteria which causes inflammation in the gut and other bod systems. This in turn contributes to weight gain which in turn leads to inflammation. It is a vicious cycle of weight gain and inflammation. 

Leptin and Inflammation

Leptin is our satiety hormone meaning it tells our brain we are full. Increased inflammation levels interfere with this hormone. Leptin levels may be normal or high but it is still not suppressing appetite ie we become leptin resistant. By reducing inflammation and losing weight your body becomes more sensitive to leptin helping you control appetite and weight.
Reducing inflammation will help you lose weight as well as tackling symptoms such as asthma, joint pain, depression and anxiety.
It will also reduce cortisol, your stress hormone which becomes elevated as it tries to suppress inflammation. High cortisol levels equal depression and anxiety.

Reduce Inflammation

There are a number of important ways to reduce inflammation through diet:

  • Increase wild oily fish consumption such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines to three times per week
  • Increase consumption of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary
  • Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. The more colours the better. Phytonutrients are rich in anti inflammatory compounds
  • Choose organic grassfed beef which is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids. If you cannot afford good quality red meat reduce consumption to twice per week
  • Increase good fats - choose coconut oil to cook with, add olive oil to salads, increase consumption of nuts and seeds especially ground flaxseed, avocados and eggs. 
  • Remove grains from the diet. They are pro-inflammatory and prevent the absorption of many nutrients such as zinc and iron. 
  • Eat a Paleo diet! 

If you would like help addressing your weight or reducing inflammation please contact Denise today on or call 0877184523

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wholesome Wednesdays: Tropical Blast Smoothie

Hey Paleo peeps! :) Another Wednesday recipe for you all!

I spent the day doing LOTS of cooking: homemade sauerkraut (well that isn't cooked but you know what I mean!) paleo mayonnaise, coleslaw and now chicken drumsticks for dinner.

But the recipe I am sharing today is for a delicious smoothie recipe made from delicious tropical inspired ingredients!

I used the wonderful Koh Coconut Water which is 100% coconut water. You have to be really careful about checking the labels on coconut water as they can often have sugars added or additives and preservatives. KOH coconut water is not from concentrate and is just 100% pure coconut water.

Benefits of Coconut Water
Not to be confused with the creamy coconut milk, the coconut water aspect of is the watery clear liquid from the fruit's centre.

It has lower sodium, higher potassium and less sugar than your standard sports drink, making it an ideal post workout beverage.

Because it is contains such balanced electrolytes, coconut water makes a good hangover cure too (though you should of course always drink in moderation :) )

Try this recipe as a delicious breakfast option or add some protein to it to make an ideal post workout smoothie - rich in antioxidants, good fats and hydrating electrolytes.

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup of berries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of coconut water
1 avocado
Ice (if using fresh berries)

Blend until smooth.

Tastes like paradise! Now all we need is the sunshine!

Beware of drinking too much coconut water if you are sensitive to sugars as there is quite a few natural sugars in it. Leave it until after a workout or as part of a protein or fat containing smoothie which will slow down the sugars absorption. Avoid coconut waters with added fruit as this hikes up the sugar content.

Check out Koh Ireland's facebook page here to find your local stockist!

I also have 2 litre cartons of coconut water to giveaway to three lucky winners!

Keep an eye out on my facebook page for full details.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

IPG Weekly Roundup: 21/9/14

Another week over and time for another IPG weekly roundup! 

Time is flying by! Can't believe how fast each week passes! 

I got a chance to help some lovely clients in my clinic in Naas this week. It is so nice to have someone come to you for one issue and walk away after helping them with much more than they expected. I love my job and helping people realise their potential through real food is so rewarding. If you want to get help with your health issues through food in one of my clinics (Ashford, Wicklow or Naas Co Kildare) please email me on 

Wholesome Wednesday
My recipe this week was a delicious simple Avocado Chocolate Mousse. With only three ingredients I created a beautiful healthy dessert! 

Try the recipe here  

Research Papers 
I do alot of reading and love studying the latest research papers in the nutrition arena. One paper I came across this week was one linking the use of artificial sweeteners with obesity. In the study scientists examined how artificial sweeteners affect the metabolism of mice. 

"The team found that the mice that drank the water containing glucose and an artificial sweetener developed glucose intolerance - elevated blood sugar levels - whereas the mice that drank water alone or water containing only sugar did not."

Furthermore they found that these changes were brought on by changes in the gut microflora of the mice. It is fascinating and shows that the gut flora play an important role in overall health. 

Read the paper here  

Are "Health" Bars All their cracked up to be? 

I posted this photo to the facebook page during the week and it got massive response. We are all guilty of being pulled into the marketing claims of these types of foods and believing the hype. The health food industry is a massive one, people are more health conscious than ever before and the industry has cottoned on to this, tapping into this market by bringing out so called health foods to cash in. We as consumers need to be careful of being misled and need to be aware of which foods really are good for us and not just neatly packaged sugar laden foods. Check your labels and don't be codded by the claims. 

Read the original source here 

Paleo Talk
I got the chance to meet a few members of the Naas Athletic Club when I delivered a talk on the benefits of following a Paleo protocol for endurance athletes. They were a lovely crowd and I hope I changed one or two opinions of the merits of this way of life. 
If you are interested in me hosting a talk on any aspect of Paleo nutrition please email me on I am always happy to spread the Paleo word! 

I was really excited to attend an event today hosted by IANT in Dublin. Internationally renowned speaker on Gluten and Coeliac disease Dr Tom O Brien is the host of The Gluten Summit (really recommend you listen - available at 

It was an amazing talk on autoimmunity and the gut which I really enjoyed and learned alot from. It was such an honour to meet him after having him play in my ear over the past few months! 

Another week lies ahead of me with lots coming up. I will be announcing another cycle of my popular 30 day Paleo Challenge:

My 30 Day Challenge Meal Plans include recipes like the following:

Chicken & Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with cauli-rice
Alfredo Chicken "Pasta"
Paleo Meatloaf
Egg and Bacon Muffins
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Avocado Smoothie
Lamb Meatballs with courgette "pasta"
Rib Eye Steak with sweet potato wedges

Sign up to my 30 Day Challenge this October and increase energy levels, balance blood sugar levels, balance hormone levels, boost weight loss, Reduce inflammation, improve athletic performance.

30 day meal plans, weekly shopping lists, group support, nightly Q&A sessions.

30 days. 100% Paleo. Lifelong lessons.
If you are interested in taking part please email me on 

Have a great week and remember;

Keep It Paleo!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

IPG Weekly Roundup: 14/9/14

Hey all! Another week has gone by, and that means another Weekly Roundup! 

It has been another very busy week here in IPG HQ! Lots to do and I am grateful to be keeping busy.

I was busy marketing my new clinic locations in Naas Co Kildare and Ashford Wicklow. I am looking forward to taking clients this week in Naas and starting to help people get healthier through food. Nutritional therapy can be useful in a range of conditions such as thyroid issues, diabetes, PCOS, fertility, digestive complaints, energy fluctuations, weight loss and lots more. If you are interesting in booking a nutrition consultation in either of my clinics, please email me on I am really excited about getting started! 

I also met with Niamh of The Ivy Cookery School in Rathdangan Co Kildare to speak about a Paleo cookery evening we plan to run next month. I am SO excited about it and Niamh's cookery school is really beautiful! The evening will be held on 2nd October and will include an hour long nutrition seminar presented by myself. This will then be followed by a Paleo themed food demonstration and tasting. Niamh aims to cook up some delicious dishes for you all to sample including an easy family favourite recipe and a more elaborate dinner party dish to wow your guests with as well as lots of other ideas. It will be a great evening and will be a chance for like minded people to get together around good food. The cost for the evening will be €40. Don't miss out! Places are limited. Email me on to secure your place. 

I had my weekly meeting with the participants of Resurrection 8 Crossfit box in Celbridge at the weekend. They are all doing fantastic with great results coming from them all. They are a great bunch and have been really enthusiastic so far. Keep up the good work guys! 

Wholesome Wednesdays
I also got busy in the kitchen this week and cooked a new recipe for you all for Wholesome Wednesdays. The recipe, which was for Carrot & Ginger muffins was delicious and nourishing and my family really enjoyed them. Try them for yourself! They are a really nice breakfast option or lunch box filler and are full of anti-inflammatory ginger and other yummy ingredients. 
Try the recipe here

Nutrition News
In other news I came across this great piece detailing the historical demise of saturated fat in nutritional science and why we should not be afraid of fat. Worth a look. Read it here

I have a really busy week ahead which is great. Until next week Paleo peeps! 

Keep It Paleo

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wholesome Wednesdays: Carrot and Ginger Muffins

For this weeks Wholesome Wednesday recipe, I decided to put up a more sweet dish. I dont bake much, even Paleo foods, because I dont have a sweet tooth and because I prefer to have baked foods as a treat food. 
These muffins are made from ground almonds which I tend to avoid using too much. This is because I think ground almonds can be too easy to overeat (how many almonds does it take to make 1 cup of ground almonds?!) and also because of the high omega 6 content which is pro-inflammatory. But as a treat, I tried these. 

They are not too sweet and have a nice little hit of ginger which is nice and warming. Ideal as a treat with a cup of tea or as a quick portable breakfast idea, these are naturally gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.

200g ground almonds (2 cups)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
130g of grated carrot
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
3 eggs
1/2 cup honey

Add the dry ingredients in a bowl (almonds, baking powder, sea salt, spices) 
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the honey and coconut oil 
Combine the carrot and ginger and add in the egg and oil mixture.
Combine these wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, mix well. 
Place in 12 muffin cases.
Bake at 180C for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through and a skewer comes out of the centre clean. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Importance Of Taking Time Out

Yesterday I posted on my facebook page about how important it is to take time out for ourselves. It really hit home for many of you, and I decided that it would be a good idea to do a blog post on it.

We live in a society where there it is almost considered socially acceptable to be stressed out and overworked. We almost boast about our level of busyness and sigh at the amount of work we have. The thought of taking time out for ourselves seems selfish or unnecessary and we are almost ashamed to admit that we might actually need time out.

I have been guilty of this in the past. I scoffed at people who had time for TV or baths - what is the point in wasting time on that when you could be working? Overworking myself - working full time, studying, being a mother and wife and also taking care of my home. I am not looking for praise here. I am pointing out the busy situation I was in, like many other people, and I was afraid to admit that I might actually need a break.

The past few months have been hectic for me. Finishing out my diploma, working, moving house, starting my own business and I have been guilty of working too hard and not taking time out.

Yesterday I decided to shut down my laptop, turn off my phone and leave the housework! Something clicked with me and I realised something - It is so important to take time out and look after yourself. Taking time out is not an indulgence, it is a necessity and it can be a great way to deal with stress and clear the brain when things have been a little hectic. It is important for your mental health.

Do not compete with friends and family over how busy you are. Rather rejoice in time out and boast about how much you enjoy your time to yourself. Life is short. It is important to work hard and be successful. But it is also important to be happy and spend time with family.

Give yourself some time out today. You may be a wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur or a work at home Mum but you cannot be good for anyone else if you don't look after YOU.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

IPG Weekly Roundup 7/9/14

Hey ho Paleo peeps! 

Another week down and another Weekly Roundup! 

It has been another busy week here in IPG HQ! 

As you all know I have recently relocated to Meath so it has been a little crazy getting used to our new area and getting unpacked and settled in. But we are getting there and I cant believe how quickly we are adapting to a new area and getting into our new routine. 

I am loving having more time at home with my son. I have been enjoying alot of walking and sunshine. My dog can't believe his luck! He is being walked more than ever before and I am enjoying having the time to slow things down and walk everywhere. 

I had a busy week work wise too. I started a new cycle of the IPG Challenge on Monday last. A great bunch the September group are, and they are already doing fantastic! Delighted for them all. It is amazing how quickly your body adapts to eating real food. I think it is going to be a very successful cycle! 

On Tuesday last I travelled to Naas to visit Anne in Studio 3 to speak about my new Nutritional Therapy clinic I am about to open! It is a lovely location in a quite area with free parking. Anne is a Homeopath herself and her business partner Gillian is a Yoga instructor. They are a lovely team and I am looking forward to starting there. If you are interested in booking a consultation with me please email me on 

I also got the chance to deliver a talk to Resurrection 8 Crossfit in Celbridge at the weekend. The talk focused on Paleo Nutrition and I am delighted to work with the lovely Crossfit family there over the next 30 Days as they embark on a 30 Day Paleo Challenge. During the month they have committed to eating 100% Paleo and reaching their Crossfit goals with Lorna in Resurrection 8. They are a lovely group and I am really excited to work with them. I will be meeting them for the next few Saturday mornings to check on their progress so I will fill you in! 
To speak to Lorna about joining their Crossfit box email her on

I have been back in the kitchen trying out some new meals and this week I experimented with a brand new recipe - The Epic Burger! It was amaze-balls and I thouroughly enjoyed making it and of course, eating it! 

Check it out here - Recipe Epic Burger

I have another busy week ahead. I am due to travel to Ashford Wicklow tomorrow to meet with the lovely Linda to speak about setting up a 2nd clinic in her Energise Therapy Clinic. Really excited about meeting with her. 

I am also meeting with Niamh in The Ivy Cookery school to speak about running a Paleo themed cookery evening with her. She is a fully trained chef so it will be interesting to see what Paleo masterpieces she comes up with! If you would be interested in attending a Paleo masterclass please email me on

It has been a busy time for me recently and today I decided to SLOW DOWN and take a day off. I posted on my facebook page earlier about it. Sometimes we can forget to take time out for ourselves and just take some me time. I had a wonderful day just doing fun things with my son like enjoying the sun and reading a book. I will be making a concious decision to do this more in future. All work and no play is not a good thing either! Take some time out! 

I think that is everything for this week. 

Looking forward to another productive week. 

Chat soon
Keep It Paleo

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Wholesome Wednesdays: The Epic Burger

The EPIC Burger really is epic! Good enough to satisfy any appetite, Paleo or not, this burger is a must try!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

For the burgers
300g organic minced beef
1/2 onion chopped
Handful spinach
1tsp dried garlic
1 tbsp of coconut oil
Salt & Pepper

2 eggs
1 avocado, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
1 medium sweet potato (but into spirals using a sprilizer)
4 large field mushrooms
1 cup of coconut/olive oil

Heat the tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and add the onion. Saute until soft. Add the spinach and dried garlic until spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan gently. Add a third of the sweet potato and fry until golden brown (could take up to 5 minutes, watch it carefully to avoid burning). Remove and place on kitchen towel to drain. Continue with the remaining batches of sweet potato until all cooked.
Heat a pan or griddle pan. In a bowl mix the beef, salt, pepper and spinach onion mix together and form into 2 burgers.
Place the burgers on the griddle pan. Add the mushrooms . Cook the burgers for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. Turn the mushrooms once and remove once softened but not too soft.
In the meantime fry two eggs until cooked to your liking

To plate up:

Place one mushroom top side down on the plate.
Cover with a couple of slices of tomato
Place the burger on top.
Top with avocado slices
Top with the egg
And lastly, top with the sweet potato!

Bon Appetite!